This past week my daughter, Marcella, whom Cella’s Sweets is named after, turned a year old. I asked Marcella what kind of party she wanted and she just looked at me and said “Dada” so my wife and I decided to go with a Candy Land theme. I use the word “theme”
loosely. It was more like an obsession. For the past two months Candy Land was all I could think about. Did you know there was a troll named “Plumpy” in the original game but he has been kicked off of more recent versions? Also, there is Mr. Mint, Princess Lolli, Queen Frostine and Gloppy, just to name a few more. You see, I know way too much about this game. But, that being said, it does make the basis for one great party. Weeks of painting, carving, planning, cutting and pasting led to a real life Candy Land, complete with eight lands, a rainbow trail, 300 balloons and over 78 pounds of candy, not to mention a fabulous cake made by yours truly.
So without delay let’s enter Candy Land. The first thing you see is a sign from King Kandy asking the boys and girls to help him find his castle.
Quaint, isn’t it? Next we see Plumpy and the Gingerbread Plum Tree. Plumpy was kind enough to share his gingersnaps with the children. With three foot suckers lining the path we then come upon the Peppermint Forest. Once inside we see the Licorice Castle and the Ice Cream Sea. Through the Rainbow Trail we stumble upon the Lollipop Woods.
Our path takes us back outside to see Gramma Nut’s House and the Molasses Swamp, complete with “fishing” and “digging for worms.” I took crushed Oreos and threw a buch of gummy worms in a planter so the kids could dig up fishing worms. Back inside we pass through the Gumdrop Mountains and finally find our Candy Castle.
The cake was the centerpiece of our “Candy Castle.”
I took a vanilla sheet cake and iced it with vanilla buttercream icing. I used my new favorite toys, the Wilton Color Misters, to spray the different colors on the sheet. Once the background colors were in place, I cut out the squares from fondant to simulate the squares on the game board. The gingerbread tree was made out of modeling chocolate. The peanut brittle house was made out of…well…peanut brittle…what else would a peanut brittle house be made of? That being said, I’m sure you can guess what the Licorice Castle was made out of. I cheated on the Peppermint Forest and the Lollipop Woods, although I did unwrap the suckers and the peppermints before I placed them on the cake. For the Molasses Swamp, I spread out my fudge icing and then piped Gloppy into place.
The fudgcicles were made from toothpicks and modeling chocolate and the leaves from fondant. The Ice Cream Sea was fun. I took a cookie dough scoop and scooped out vanilla, chocolate and green icing to look like ice cream, and it did. I happened upon my gingerbread cookie cutters and decided to add the game pieces made of fondant. Finally, the castle was a separate cake. I made it two layers and iced it with my buttercream icing. I used the yellow color mister and sprayed it golden. I attached four large ice cream cones filled with chocolate cake and added the scoops, from a real ice cream scoop, on top of the cones. After adding a couple of other colored cones for decoration, I used some sprinkles to top the ice cream. This was my favorite cake to make. All that candy and sugar made me feel like a little boy, and I “occasionally” acted like one.
The real star of the party was, of course, Marcella. She was a wonderful hostess, smiling and greeting everyone as they made their way through her kingdom. My wife made Marcella’s cake, and boy did she like it. It was a chocolate cake with a vanilla whipped icing and sprinkles for good measure. Here she is enjoying her big day.
All in all, it was a great day, and we had lots of fun planning and being a part of her special day.
Ah yes, the sun is shining. The birds are hiding. There is frost on the car windows. Yes, it’s wedding season…I mean wedding planning season. Sure, you get those brides who insist that a winter wonderland is the perfect backdrop or the grooms who forget that an autumn anniversary could fall on rivalry weekend, but the majority of weddings take place between May and August. This is a fact I made up, then decided to research…and, oh yeah, it’s a fact. As sure as Ares took out Adonis in a jealous rage, it’s true. That being said, I had an opportunity to hold my first tasting with a couple tying the knot this summer.
They wanted to try a couple of different flavors, so a couple of different flavors are what they got. Six to be exact: raspberry, raspberry with custard, raspberry ganache, mocha, mocha with ganache and raspberry with ganache. At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to present this. I was thinking mini cakes, each having a different filling, but let’s be honest, I don’t do “mini.” I ended up making a 6″ round 4 layers high and a 9″ round four layers high. I decided to tier it just like a wedding cake…and that’s when my creative juices started flowing.
Since I have not made a wedding cake before, I decided to decorate this one a little. I took some ribbon and wrapped it around the bottom of each tier. Then I took colored sugar pearls and made a triangular pattern all around each of the tiers. To add just a little bling, I took a strand of oblong pearls and draped it around the tops of each ribbon. I headed out to find some flowers to finish it off with, but I ran into a snag…I LIVE IN GAFFNEY! If Bi-Lo and Wal-Mart are your best sources, just forget the flowers! I did find a “florist” but she didn’t have any flowers (and that’s the reason for the quotes around florist). So I came home, popped the tops off some fake flowers and presto, I had my cake toppers.
So then it was time to meet with the couple, and for some reason I got nervous. At the time I wasn’t sure why, but I think I narrowed it down to three reasons. Number one. This is my first time putting my culinary skills on display for a bride-to-be. I mean brides can be daunting. What if this is the centerpiece of her wedding? I mean this one meeting could ruin the whole day. Ok, it wouldn’t, but the thought crossed my mind. Second, outside of church and my wife, I don’t have many conversations with adults. My deepest conversation this week was my daughter saying “Dada” and I replied “Yes?”…we did this for five minutes straight, and we are now closer as a result.
Finally I had to transport the cake. Every time I put a dessert into the car, whether it is a pie, a cheesecake or anything else, I have flashes of some idiot pulling out in front of me and my dessert flying out the window and hitting the other driver in the face, Stooges style.
Well, I found the apartment just fine and the meeting went well. I have some things to work with as far as what to ask and what to expect, but overall it was a pleasant experience. A big thank you goes out to the bride and groom-to be…and oh yeah, here is the cake.